When Children Kill Children: Penal Populism and Political Culture

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OUP Oxford, Jan 19, 2012 - Law - 352 pages
This title examines the role of political culture and penal populism in the response to the emotive subject of child-on-child homicide. Green explores the reasons underlying the vastly differing responses of the English and Norwegian criminal justice systems to the cases of James Bulger and Silje Redergard respectively. Whereas James Bulger's killers were subject to extreme press and public hostility, and held in secure detention for nine months before being tried in an adversarial court, and served eight years in custody, a Redergard's killers were shielded from public antagonism and carefully reintegrated into the local community. This book argues that English adversarial political culture creates far more incentives to politicize high-profile crimes than Norwegian consensus political culture. Drawing on a wealth of empirical research, Green suggests that the tendency for politicians to justify punitive responses to crime by invoking harsh political attitudes is based upon a flawed understanding of public opinion. In a compelling study, Green proposes a more deliberative response to crime is possible by making English culture less adversarial and by making informed public judgment more assessable.

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1 When Children Kill Children
2 Culture Politics and the Media in Norway and England
3 Crime and Punishment in Norway and England
4 The Constraints and Effects of Political Culture
5 The Constraints of Discourse
6 Media Constraints and the Formation of Political Opinions
7 Contextualizing Tragedy
8 English Penal Policy Climates and Political Culture
9 Political Culture Legitimacy and Penal Populism
10 Public Opinion versus Public Judgment
11 Effecting Penal Climate Change

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About the author (2012)

Dr David A. Green is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. He completed an MPhil in Criminology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology in 2001 and was then awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD. Afterwards he was a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford and Research Associate at the University of Oxford Centre for Criminology.

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